Spotlight of the Month: Lindiwe Lewis
This month’s spotlight is going to be focusing on a good friend of mine and inspirational allergy advocate, Lindiwe Lewis (a.k.a @the.allergytable on Instagram or The Allergy Table Blog)
I always admire Lindiwe’s positive outlook on living her life with allergies, and the way she inspires and encourages others to have the same through her instagram and blog page! I used to by shy to speak up about my allergies, but surrounding myself with people like Lindiwe has inspired me to be brave, speak up, and change the life of others!
For this reason, Lindiwe is my spotlight for this month. Here’s what she had to say in my Q&A…
1. Describe yourself in 3 words
That’s a really hard question because it’s taken me a long time to accept that I am multi faceted, and that it is a good thing. But I will share the three things that I value in myself.
2. What are you allergic to?
I am anaphylactic (severe allergy) to all tree nuts, pine nuts, peanuts, sesame, chickpeas, peas, beans, kiwi, pineapple, shellfish and horses. I am intolerant to corn. I have OAS (oral allergy syndrome) to raw egg, pear, raw carrot, and some other fruits. I have eczema, asthma and environmental allergies all year round.
3. Why did you set up your blog and Instagram page and what do you hope to achieve from it?
I set up my Instagram in 2015- in the hopes of just being able to share my stories and stop boring the people around me – who had already heard them (or who were there when they happened).
I think initially I started it because I wanted to see that I wasn’t alone. Whilst I saw others who had allergies on the platform, I never engaged with them. In 2018 I set up my blog because Instagram captions weren’t enough for what I wanted to say. I wanted to share recipes, meal prepping ideas and personal stories. I felt that I needed to show people that I have had an amazing life, and my allergies didn’t stop me.
In 2019, I was ready to make some friends. I was sick of being a fly on the wall. Once I made that decision, things started happening. I was on a podcast (Allergy Today), I did some guest blogs, and I had other people share their stories on my blog.
In 2020, whilst horrible in lots of ways, it helped me come out of my shell. Everyone was on their phones, and I had the time to make an impact. I started talking to anyone who would listen and I began my monthly spotlights (where I share a reactors story).
Whilst I am so happy I finally did what I set out to do, this year my mission is about bridging the gap between online and real life.
I became much more confident once I started telling my story and hearing other people’s advice, but at times the online community is like a safe bubble. It is a place where we can grow and share, however, I want to make more of an impact offline. There are so many amazing people who are doing that already and I want to get in on the action.
I have exciting events and projects happening around this mission and I cannot wait to share them!
4. What is your favourite piece of advice for people who have allergies?
Everyone manages allergies differently and they manage them differently at different times. Do not compare your experiences to anyone else’s.
What I want people to understand is, that you do not have to go out for dinner, or go traveling just because other people with allergies do, however, if it just your allergies holding you back, I want to share with you that it is possible with allergies.
Life is different with allergies, but everyone has something that makes them feel isolated, fearful, embarrassed- you have to be comfortable and confident in how YOU handle it. Don’t copy someone else’s life.There are times when I go out to eat weekly and others where I don’t eat anything other than homemade food for months. My journey is about me and no one else’s – yours is too.
5. We are all people behind our allergies. What would you say is the one most interesting non-allergy related facts about you?
Like I said earlier I feel as though I have so many!
I think the one that ties them all together is that I am a challenge seeker. Big or small – I love a challenge. Life can get too much and feelings of scarcity and fear can get in the way of living my best life, what I like to do is, see life as one big challenge. There is no failure or success, I just keep playing, keep challenging myself, other wise what is the point.
Lindiwe wants to reach out to anyone who is struggling to find their place in the world, or struggling with allergies and ask them to remember that no one has the secret manual to life, we are all struggling in our own ways! Yes the circumstances might be different, but your feelings are all human and are the same. Heartbreak is still heartbreak no matter how long you have been together. Isolation is still isolation whether it’s on the allergy table or in a group fitness class. Fear is still fear whether is about allergies or about moving homes. Talk to someone, because even if they cannot understand your circumstances, they can understand the emotion you are experiencing – And they are all valid.
If you’d like to see more from Lindiwe, make sure to: